Cutting back on baseball: Coach Griffin reduces baseball roster by 15 members

The baseball team will cut down on its players for the upcoming season, from 55 members to 40 members.

When PUC and PNC merged to form PNW, the school’s baseball teams came together. The number of players for the baseball team will be reduced so that a third of the players will be incoming freshmen, a third junior varsity members and a third varsity members.

Dave Griffin, head baseball coach for PNW, said he is downsizing the team to make the baseball program more competitive.

“The cut down was eventually going to happen. As the baseball program is growing, it’s also becoming stronger and with a stronger program, the talent level rises,” Griffin said.

The team will have a junior varsity team and a varsity team. The junior varsity team has already played 6 games this fall. The last game was against South Suburban College on Oct. 13.

“The JV team will be composed of the younger players, and these games provided them the opportunity to showcase their abilities,” Griffin said.

Decisions on who will stay on the team will be based on how many years the player has played on the team, grade level, and playing position. Griffin and Shane Prance, assistant baseball coach for PNW, will thoroughly discuss these factors before finalizing the roster.

Griffin said that the players were hesitant when they first heard about the cut down, but after that, the process has gone well and he has not heard any complaints from the players.

Brett Shoults, sophomore public relations major and relief pitcher for the baseball team, agreed that the process has gone well, but it did not go well in the beginning.

“It was pretty tense when we first heard about the cut downs. Everyone was at each other’s throats the first couple of weeks and was competitive. Team members were sending the message to each other that, ‘Hey, this is my position and I’m not going anywhere,’” Shoults said.

Shoults said the baseball team was notified of the cut down through an email sent by Griffin.

“Griffin pretty much laid out the situation for us. He told us how many players he wanted to keep for each position and if you don’t meet the criteria, you will be cut. He also told us to go out and do our best,” Shoults said.

Shoults said that, during practice, the team was going to be treated as a Division I team. Shoults also said that if the practices helped to guarantee a spot on the team, they were worthwhile. He described the practices as showcases for the players’ talents.

“Some guys are still fighting for a position [on the team] and are not taking the practices as practices, but as showing off to the coaches. They want to show the coaches what they can do and how they will help the team. On the other side, coaches are seeing what they can do and experimenting with putting players on different positions,” Shoults said.

Shoults also said that Griffin has kept the official roster of the team to himself.

Griffin said that having to cut players from the team is unfortunate. However, he affirms that competition is what athletics is about.

“Baseball is a game where you wait and never know. I always tell kids if that door is open, you have to be ready for it and if it shuts, you weren’t ready for it. That’s on you,” Griffin said.

Griffin also acknowledged that the players know what is expected from a good player.

“If we told every player and said put down your best 30 players [on the team], I bet you most of the kids will be 95 percent accurate. They’re a judge of talent. It’s just that we make the final decision,” Griffin said.

Griffin is confident about the baseball program’s future.

“We have a lot of players that can be pro potential and overall a pretty good baseball team that will represent PNW well,” Griffin said.